Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle

In honor of Earth Day this year, I wanted to plant a tree in my yard. On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, I planted two crape myrtles. I didn't know exactly what variety of crape myrtle I would find, but knew it was a crape myrtle I wanted to plant. I first stopped by Home Depot and found several crape myrtles, but they were literally huge! Probably 8ft. or more in height and the size of the pot was too much for me to handle. I then drove to Lowes and was pleasantly surprised to find a lot more trees from which to select. I pulled out 3 different crape myrtles and found 2 which looked similar in size and shape ... ah, Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle!!

Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
Checking the label, I was confident in my purchase that I would be happy with this type of crape myrtle. The flowering blooms were an interesting pinkish-purple which would be perfect to blend with my other flowering plants. Needing full sun, I knew that would also be perfect for the placement in my open back yard. I probably could have taken 3 of these, but I thought 2 will create more of a focus.

Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
Reading the back of the label, it says this is a new crape myrtle that was "selected for elite purple flower color and an upright tight growth habit." As I have purple Mexican Petunias across the front of my front yard garden, another purple color in the back yard will bring it all together on flower color design!

Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
The first Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle went into the ground on the northwest side of my back yard. I brought it in almost 5 feet from a line to the northwest edge of my house. I also placed it abut 5 feet back from the edging. I've not yet added mulch to the top, but may do that soon.

Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
The second Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle went into the ground on the northeast side of my back yard. I brought it in almost 5 feet from a line to the northeast edge of my house. I also placed it abut 5 feet back from the edging. I had debated whether I wanted to place a crape myrtle more to the northeast edge of my back yard, lined up with my shed, but thought better not to since that area's grass has been dying out from the extra drainage of two other neighbors' yards into mine. I did move the circular portion of grass I dug up for the first crape myrtle to that dead area thinking maybe it will root there.

Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle - Southern Living Plant Collection
I was curious to know more about the history of Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle. Googling, I quickly found an interesting research reference by the American Society for Horticultural Science, authored by Cecil T. Pounders and Hamidou F. Sakhanokho. Miss Sandra was created along with Miss Gail and Miss Frances and released in 2015. If I can find the other two new varieties, I might plant them in my backyard along with Miss Sandra.

A friend of mine on the west coast mentioned how impressive the Southern Living Plant Collection is for their plants and trees. I don't know that I've ever planted one of their collection, but am highly expectant of having two beautifully colored crape myrtles prospering in my back yard! Stay tuned!

37 DAY FOLLOW UP

It has been extremely hot and dry here in Leesburg, Florida for over a week. My grass in the back yard has pretty much dried up and gone crisp. I'm watering the two Miss Sandra Crape Myrtles daily and sometimes a second time in the evening. It was around 9am today, May 30, 2019, when I had pulled my hose from the front to the back yard to water the crape myrtles and my other back yard flowering plants. That's when I noticed some flowers at the top of the crape myrtle in the West side of the back yard.

miss sandra crape myrtle fuchsia blossom
Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle Fuchsia Blossom
I sent my sister in Ohio the three photos of the Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle blossom to get her input on the color. She remarked back that she'd call the little flowers in the blossom an intense deep fuchsia pink. I would agreed with that. I then asked her what color would she say the berries are. We agreed on a merlot wine color.

Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle Fuchsia Blossom
Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle Fuchsia Blossom
I believe the berries must have emerged the day before and overnight the flowers emerged. As I had been watering these crape myrtles daily, I can't see how I would have missed the pretty flowers. That's why I was so surprised this morning to see them.

Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle Fuchsia Blossom
Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle Fuchsia Blossom
I am pleasantly surprised to see blossoms so soon after planting the crape myrtles. I did use a good bit of Miracle-Gro potting mix and one application of the blue crystals of Miracle-Gro plant food. To see flowers in maybe 5 weeks time is pretty amazing. I've looked over the second crape myrtle, but do not see any indication of berries yet.

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